Street art project in downtown Moose Jaw part of family-friendly walking tour
More than 30 pieces of public infrastructure will be transformed into art
Before she became an artist herself, Carly Jaye Smith was given the chance to help paint a mural in downtown Moose Jaw.
She was just a kid at the time, but the feeling of turning public spaces into art has always stuck with her.
"I hope I can give that back," Smith said.
The artist is now inviting local kids to help with a street art project designed to beautify downtown Moose Jaw.
More than 30 pieces of public infrastructure — including benches, garbage receptacles and fire hydrants — are getting a fresh coat of paint along the city's Main Street.
"I hope it's inspiring younger artists to want to get into things like this in their future," Smith said of the the Moose Jaw Kinsmen Creative Kids Downtown Project.
Smith, along with artists Kayla Hanson and Maguire Sotnikow, have been tasked with creating kid-friendly designs, then painting them onto public spaces.
"It's a nice way to provide a canvas that's in the public and not always hidden inside the walls of the galleries. It's just there for everybody to see and to enjoy," said Hanson, who gets her inspiration from her three-year-old son.
So far the three artists have created more than a dozen public art pieces, including turning a fire hydrant into a gumball machine and a bench into a box of crayons.
Once it's completed in July, the project will be part of a new family-friendly walking tour.
The Downtown Moose Jaw Association will be providing a free map of all the locations through its website.
"There wasn't anything kid driven yet [in downtown Moose Jaw]," said Leslie Campbell, member of the Downtown Moose Jaw Association.
"This will be something that tourists coming to Moose Jaw are going to make a point of checking out."
Alex Carleton, who owns the Crushed Can Rec Room and Bar in downtown Moose Jaw, said businesses in the area have been hit hard by COVID-19.
He hopes the art project will help revive the local economy as the province emerges from the pandemic.
"Anything we can do to make tourists and the people of Moose Jaw experience downtown and make it more enjoyable is great for all the businesses," said Carleton.
So far, the community has responded well to the project.
"It makes people happy. We keep hearing comments that this is bringing joy to our downtown," Smith said.
"That's all we can really hope for, that this keeps spreading and that we soon have a bright, beautiful, colourful downtown, instead of a bunch of old brick buildings."